By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Exactly one year after the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Minnesota, nearly 55% of state’s educators have been vaccinated.

On Saturday, Gov. Tim Walz acknowledged the sacrifices Minnesota educators have made over the last year, as schools shut down and classrooms shifted into hybrid learning models.

“Vaccinating more and more of our teachers and child care workers means that our students are able to return to in-person learning,” said Walz.

Along with prioritizing vaccination, Minnesota also instituted a first-in-the-nation COVID-19 testing program which provides testing supplies every two weeks to school districts with no additional cost. The program started in January, and since then, more than 96% of Minnesota school districts have signed up, as well as 41% of nonpublic schools and two out of four tribal schools.

RELATED: 12 Deaths, 975 Cases Reported Saturday; 1M Have Received At Least One Vaccine Dose

“We know our students learn best when they’re in person with their teachers, and in order to keep our educators safe, we have made it a priority to get them the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “Providing vaccines to nearly 55% of our educators, school staff, and child care providers is an incredible achievement, and we will keep moving forward to reach 100%.”

The state passed another vaccination milestone on Saturday, as more than 1 million Minnesotans have received at least one vaccine dose. Vaccination efforts are ramping up with the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though Walz stressed that distribution is dependent on the supply from the federal government. As the limitations shift, he said Minnesota could see a 20% drop in vaccine allocation next week, if no additional Johnson & Johnson vaccines are shipped out to the state.